It took a not-surprising fifteen pages (and two paid ads by the Aggies) for Paul Burka to explain how greed trumps tradition [“Farmers Flight!” November 2011]. For a rural teasipper who graduated in 1958 and grew up worshipping Bobby Layne, this situation is almost beyond my comprehension. What the H are we going to do next Thanksgiving: watch the hapless Cowboys play some faceless NFL opponent? As the granddad of two Aggies, I have a deep respect for the scholastic and athletic achievement of both schools, so it seems implausible that this great rivalry must come to an end because of the greed of rich power brokers. It is kind of like the situation that this great country of ours now finds itself in. The wingnuts are going to ruin us.
On page 115 of your November issue, the caption writer obviously missed the point of the Hogs fans’ “Welcome.” This was after the game, and the “Welcome” to the conference was to point out that the Aggies did it with a loss, apparently the only tradition that they have been unwilling, or possibly unable, to abandon.
One more cover about football, cheerleaders, tailgate parties, or other sporting events and you can just change your name to TEXAS SPORTS MONTHLY.
Norman W. Baxter
I find it hard to believe that a magazine of this quality ran a picture on the cover of an Aggie player so poorly dressed. His pants are way too small. They would be a hindrance to his physical protection if he had to play in them. They are too short. His thigh pads are poorly located, plus his knees are totally exposed. Is he an Aggie player or just a model?
It seems nothing is sacred anymore. If a school that is so steeped in tradition and has its entire identity built around obsessing over UT finds it expedient to break with that tradition, then what does that say about us as Texans and the things we value? The two schools were like brothers who will now be forever estranged. I suppose I should resign myself to the fact that this is no longer the state where I grew up. With the changing times, a once great and unique state is gradually becoming indistinguishable from the rest of the country. I guess they call that progress, but I want none of it. So I say “So long” to the tradition that I used to watch at my grandparents’ house on Thanksgiving. And not unlike my grandparents’ passing and their house being sold, another part of real Texas dies.
This brought back many memories of Thanksgiving dinner at my grandfather’s house with the game on the radio or a black and white television set—my father a former UT student and my uncle an Aggie, each taking turns in agony as the teams’ fortunes changed during the game. So it is disappointing to hear that the two schools may not continue their annual game.
But playing in different conferences is nothing more than a scheduling challenge. UT and A&M need to get over their hurt feelings and find a way to keep their storied Thanksgiving tradition alive. If the two schools are the intellectual powerhouses they like to say they are, they will find a way.
David L. Powell
Streets of Gold
I chuckled as I read about the Dallas elite and their preoccupation with materialism [“Give Me Shelter,” November 2011]. I couldn’t help but wonder: Surely they know they can’t take it with them, right?
For Love of Dog
It does my heart good to see that these noble and faithful canines are being brought back after their service in the Middle East [“Dogs of War,” November 2011]. The combat dogs we had in Vietnam were not so fortunate. Dogs were considered expendable Army equipment, and dog handlers tearfully left their dogs behind under orders.
C. X. Domino
“Eli immediately crawled on top of him to shield his body.” This is the most heartwarming (and, sadly, heart-wrenching) sentence ever written in your fine publication.
Luke J. Fair
Pacific Palisades, California
I am not black. I am not from the South. Contrary to Annette Gordon-Reed’s position, I think that makes me more qualified to comment on the impact of John Howard Griffin’s Black Like Me [Books, November 2011]. My comment is that the book was an effective tool in the fight against discrimination in this country.
In her review of the book, Gordon-Reed seems to fall into the trap of historical revisionism; she gets caught taking the easy route of reaching conclusions about the intentions and effectiveness of historical persons and events based on present-day standards. As a young boy, I remember the effect that this book had on me in my formative years; who, then, is in a better position than I am to comment on its importance? The book was perhaps an opening strike in a sword duel that should not be judged later as being too weak a stroke or too indecisive an action.
Gordon-Reed implies that only black people can tell the true story of the discrimination they faced (and face) from whites in the South because of their personal experiences of living in the black community. If that is true, then it seems that blacks would be equally limited in telling the story since they did not live in white communities. I submit that neither position is true and that there is value in everyone’s story if it is reviewed with honesty and without prejudice.
David G. Maseredjian
Los Angeles, California
Mimi Swartz knocked the political ball out of the park with her thoughts on Rick Perry [Behind the Lines, November 2011]. Rick has been content to play in the minor leagues for so many years that he looks like a deer in the headlights during the national debates.
Larry D. Coleman